Sunday 19 February 2017

40 Hours in Amsterdam

From ordering my passport, to packing my case; this trip was significant for a whole host of reasons. My first plane journey in nearly 10 years. My first trip abroad without my family, ever. With friends I'd met 3 months beforehand.

Amsterdam. A city with varying opinions. A place that ignited my love for traveling. A place that confuses me immensely. The red light district seemingly set in the middle of a residential area. Bikes. Everywhere. And if you thought a green man meant pedestrians are able to cross the road safely without cars coming at them; you'd be wrong. We did end up screaming running across the road a few times.

The first night consisted of plane hopping, burger king chicken nuggets and trying to find our train to the city. The no. 5 and 3 trams turned out to be our best friends. We check into the Hotel City Garden and ran up 4 flights of stairs to our triple room. The hotel is situated down a side road which backed onto a park. We didn't have time to wander through the park, and at the minus temperatures all day, we didn't fancy freezing either. The view from our top floor, double door window was decent enough, with it's rooftops and lights from the business buildings in the west.

Walking through the streets at night is something to behold. The canals are lit up by arch lights and the townhouses are beautiful. We ventured into the city after Google lied about a 10 minute walk. It was not 10 minutes. After 20 we found ourselves peckish and and followed signs for Mcdonald's. Classic. My friends then decided they would love a 'quick' alcoholic beverage. A few hours later they were dropping like something was hot. I however sat there on the sofa, wishing I was in bed as I'd had been up for 18 hours. My sleep that night was fantastic.

Our first full day saw a tram ride and a pancake breakfast at The Pancake Bakery. Reasonably priced, lovely staff and a pancake of dreams. My cheese and mushroom savory PC was amazing. I also found a love for syrup. The tea was questionable, with the 'english tea' bag tasting nothing like how England does it and they don't have milk. Creamer- no thank you.

We walked down towards Anne Frank's house and were advised to come back at 5pm to skip waiting in the queues, so opted for a canal cruise instead. This was amazing, and I'd definitely recommend one as you see a lot of the parts of the city you may not have seen otherwise.

Dinner that night was meant to be a 'highly recommended' Asian restaurant. This turned out to be a cookey shop which had a slight smell. We went subway instead. We ended our final night in The Three Sisters, an english pub with cheap drinks and table service. I couldn't miss that place more.

We checked out at 6am the next day, and it took half hour to get to the airport, including waiting 17 minutes for the tram, and then hoping on a train. I may have read our boarding passes wrong and thought our plane left at 9am. Turns out it was 9.55 and we sat in the departures lounge for over 3 hours after check in/security lasted all of 10 minutes. Hahaaaaaaa.

Overall I loved the city. I'd go back, but would rather explore more places first. If you're planning to go; here is some advice: take more money than you think you'll need. It's not enough. I took 180 euros and ended up using 140, but that was only because I didn't drink when we were at the pub/bars. Everything is expensive. For example, in the UK, a Big Mac Meal costs just under £5. In the land of the Dutch, the burger, by itself, costs around 4, a small (kids sized) drink is 2 on top and small fries are 2 also. Never mind medium size. Gosh. And buy the travel card. We used the trams everywhere we went and would have spent a fortune if we'd have to have bought tickets per journey.

Amsterdam is beautiful. Thats that.


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